We were seated comfortably in front of the bartender as he serves us our fourth round of synthetic ciders.
My brother looked up nonchalantly at the visualization to the side of the room and we both chuckle as the South Koreans lost yet another strategy game to Singaporeans. “It’s amazing how they used to own the scene. Nobody could touch them.” he said. We both reminisce the good old days some 2000 years ago when desktops were still around.
A notification came up in at the corner of my eye reminding me to extend the life of my physical body stored back on earth, our ancestor’s home planet. “This round is on me”, I nodded to my brother and patted him on the back like how people used to do before robotic surrogates held our consciousness. “One year is enough this time” said my brother with a slight frown. He drew a circle on the bar counter with the condensation that gathered at the base of his glass and he seemed to have no cares in the world as he listlessly recircled the path of his finger again and again.
“What’s bothering you?”
He stretched back and folded his arms, leaned forward and rested them on the bar counter. Looking at the bartender and tracing his moves with his eyes. “don’t you think as a civilaztion we are done?” “What do you mean ’done’?” I asked intrigued and started to sit up as this is how the past few hundred discoveries were made, with random questions questioning our sheer existence to toying with ideas from past.
“There is nothing more to discover. We have discovered everything. We now know everything.”, he said with a disappointment in his breath. “There must still be something to discover?” I retorted. “No. There isn’t. We had run the simulations a trillion times. After we had cracked The Theory of Everything 1000 years ago, we mastered gravity, we mastered space-time, we colonized the universe, made all possible first contacts and unified all our scientific knowledge. From that point on, all the civilizations had united to discover what was still left to discover in the physical world. It’s been close to 100 years now and no one has come up with anything new.”
He had a point. It did seem like there was nothing left to discover, no where left to explore, nothing new to try.
It’s that same celebratory feeling that humans had when they first catalogued fully every centimeter square of Earth’s three dimensional space, and which was quickly followed by the feeling a post battle warrior got, having to hang up his armor after conquering all the lands there were to conquer.
“Is that all there is to life? Acquiring all this knowledge, unlocking the secrets of the universe, discovering all the different cultures, achieving balance, peace and prosperity, being able to have all of life’s luxury without needing to toil for it?” He took another sip.
“Maybe dying really is next.”
I totally knew what he meant and agreed with him at some level. Conversations from the past few trips to this bar have hovered around what’s pass absolute death. Science never did venture past absolute death. Consciousness could have been transferred or recreated from cloned memories, but no one really knows if we’ve lost our souls during that process. There is no observable evidence to prove so, only the individual will know, but no one did come back to tell.
“I’ve been toying with the idea we spoke about when we last met in this bar.” He took out a small device and placed it gently on the bar counter. “You actually made it?” I said with shock. “Does it work?”
He said nothing.
My brother looked away and signaled to the bartender for another round.
“I’ve thought long and hard about this and with or without you, I’m still gonna do it. There are no preparations needed to be made, no calls needed to be made, they are all irrelevant.” My brother have always been a decisive person and from the way he said it, I took him very seriously.
As the ciders arrived, we picked it up. “Shall we?” He asked. I paused for a moment, smiled, “Why not.”
We chugged as much as we could and slammed the bottles down.
He started fiddling around with the device and when he was done he placed it between us on the counter. We looked at each other one last time and he went ahead to press a small button on the device.
It suddenly went completely silent and everything came to a stand still. I seem to be floating away from myself, drifting backwards. I can see my brother and I sitting in front of me. I continue drifting.
The pace picked up and it seems like the whole room is contracting. I’m floating up into the sky and now I can see the whole room we were in, the street, the town we were in. As I continue to drift backwards, I see the planet we were in, the solar system, the galaxy. Everything moved so fast the universe was collapsing.
And then there was nothing.
“Adam, wake up” said a thunderous voice, and… I… took my first breath.